The Open: Tiger Woods believes in 15th major win at St Andrews

Exclusive by Dan RoanBBC sports editor
Woods on loss of form, family & St Andrews
144th Open Championship
Venue: St Andrews Dates: 16-19 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, Red Button, Connected TVs, online, Radio 5 live, sports extra, tablets, mobiles and app.

Former world number one Tiger Woods says he can win his 15th major at this week's Open, claiming his game is "heading in the right direction".

Woods, 39, has not won a major since the 2008 US Open and has struggled with form and injury in recent years.

But, in an interview with BBC Sport, world number 241 Woods said he now felt more consistent.

The American also said that golf was "in good hands" with current world top two Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

In addition, Woods revealed that he now spends less time playing golf and more time with his two children.

Woods on his game

Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo
Tiger Woods claimed his first Masters title in 1997 - a year after turning professional

Woods has been hampered by a back problem, for which he had surgery in 2014, and has been trying to alter his swing.

He has struggled for form throughout 2015 and has recorded three scores in the 80s in his last six tournaments. Last month, he shot the worst round of his professional career - a 13-over-par 85 at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio - and missed the cut in the US Open at Chambers Bay with his worst score in the event.

However, he carded his best round of the year - a four-under-par 66 - on the first day of the Greenbrier Classic on 2 July.

"My body's finally good. I'm just not as wiry and as whippy as I used to be. And being 39 versus 19 is totally different.

"If you're making changes you have to take a couple of steps backwards before you make the giant leap forward - if you look throughout my career when I've made swing changes I've gone through that suffering period and I've come out pretty good on the other side.

"I wouldn't say I've found the solution - it's a process, an evolution, making subtle shifts, fine tuning and getting the overall pattern different, and that takes time.

"I'm starting to feel like I'm getting more consistent - the last round at Greenbrier was probably the best I've hit in a couple of years.

"I know I'm heading in the right direction. It's going take a tremendous amount of work and a lot of patience but I'll get there eventually."

Woods off the course

Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods, and the golfer's children
Woods, pictured here with former girlfriend Lindsey Vonn, has two children with his ex-wife Elin Nordegren

In 2009, Woods admitted cheating on his then wife Elin Nordegren and having multiple affairs. He took a five-month break from the game and has not won a major since.

In May this year, his two-year relationship with US Olympic skiing champion Lindsey Vonn ended. Woods said the break-up was "brutal".

Asked how he deals with performing below his own expectations, Woods said he now spends more time with his family.

"It's a little bit harder now, because I just don't have as much time to devote to practising.

"My kids are the most important things in my life. When I was younger I could practise 14 hours a day - it didn't matter as I didn't have any other responsibilities.

"Now with my kids in my life and my foundation [a charity helping provide college-access opportunities for low-income students], which is so important and which we are trying to grow, I have more responsibilities.

"But my two kids are everything for me. I drop golf and everything to be with them."

Woods on the Open

Woods last won the Open in 2006 - the third time he has won golf's oldest major. Since then, the best he has done is tied for third in 2012.

His two other wins in the event - in 2000 and 2005 - both came at St Andrews, where this year's Open will be held.

Dan Roan: Could you win?

Tiger Woods: "Absolutely"

DR: You really believe that?

TW: "Absolutely.

"It's my favourite golf course in the world. I love coming back here and seeing it and remembering all the shots and remembering all the good times I've had here.

"The creativity that it takes and the discipline - people don't realise how much you need to shape the ball and the discipline it takes to play this course."

Woods's major victories
Masters (4)1997, 2001, 2002, 2005
PGA Championship (4)1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
US Open (3)2000, 2002, 2008
Open Championship (3)2000, 2005, 2006

Woods on the future of golf

"A lot of kids are coming up. Golf's in great hands with Rory and Jordan.

"The game's changed dramatically. When I got into my teens, clubs started changing and now we have all these different technologies and balls have changed.

"But the neat thing is that golf has become much more athletic - look at the guys' bodies now - they're fit, they're training, they've got bigger, stronger. We're getting athletes in the game of golf."

Woods on his own future

"I will play for as long as I can feel like I'm competitive and I can win golf tournaments. I'm not going to play forever - I'm not going be one of those guys who's out there playing at 70.

"I mean I'm 40 in just a few months so definitely I'll be playing in my 40s."

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